Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

A bit of business - the San Diego Opera Offices will be closed Thursday, December 24 and Friday December 25, 2009 for the Christmas holiday.

We'll also be closed Thursday, December 31, 2009 and Friday, January 1, 2010 to celebrate the New Year.

The Aria Serious crew however will be gone beginning now, and won't return until Monday, January 4, 2010.

So don't expect any blogging between now and then unless it's really interesting, we get really bored, or we go on another eggnog bender. And remember what happened last time we did that? Glad somebody does, because we don't.

Thank for you all your support of our Company and we look forward to sharing the 2010 season with you. It's going to be amazing!
Have a happy and safe one!

Tenor Piotr Beczala Fired Up For BOHEME

In just over 30-days tenor Piotr Beczala will make his Company debut with us in LA BOHEME.

We're excited! You're excited! The people of London are excited!

London!!??

Yep, you see, Piotr is singing Rodolfo at Covent Garden right now. When he's done, he jumps on a plane and comes to us. And when he's done here he jumps on a plane to go and sing the exact same role at the Met.

London's Sunday Times ran a nice feature on Piotr yesterday.


While You Were Out

Over the weekend:



- In the news that breaks our heart, the (beautiful) incredibly talented soprano Danielle de Niese was married over the weekend to Glyndborne Opera head Gus Christie reports the Opera Chic. We wish them a big Aria Serious congratulations even though deep down we're weeping inside.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Like every Friday it is time to ask: what are you listening to this weekend?

The Aria Serious tower will be listening to the beautiful strains of Romeo and Juliet this week. Why? Because it's the opera this season that we're least familiar with and with the season around the corner we thought it might be wise to brush up on it.

Other than that, we have no listening plans this weekend, although there are plans to box up the record collection in order to make room for a nursery so odds are we'll come across a few forgotten gems to put on the ol' turntable.

Share your listening plans in the comment section below. And make it a good one!

A Horse Is A Horse Of Couse Of Course

Word down at the Scenic Studio is that a bit more of the Nabucco set arrived yesterday in the form of one of the two horses that we will be using in this production.

Seems that this production has three rearing horses but we're only using two. One came with the rest of the set but the other two are in a separate trailer. A very expensive trailer to ship. So we decided to have another horse built, because it was cheaper. Well the horse arrived yesterday and we have pictures to prove it.

The horse with no name:


























Nabucco opens February 20. 2010

Opera Flashmob en el Mercado

We here at Aria Serious love flashmobs and try to seek them out wherever we can. Truth be told the only one we can ever find is the annual zombie walk that happens with Comic Con. Speaking of Comic Con, do you have your passes yet? Saturday is already sold-out.

But we digress.

Here's the newest opera flashmob we could find: LA TRAVIATA in a market. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shaggy Haired Rockers Defile Bayreuth Festspielhaus

The music kids listen to these days.

Below is a video from the French band Phoenix whose classically themed album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, starts with the track Lisztomania - the term coined to describe the unbridled fandom surrounding classical pianist Franz Liszt.

For this video these shaggy haired rockers defile the Bayreuth Festspielhaus with their amplified rock and/or roll.

We here at Aria Serious are only joking. We're actually considering Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as our favorite pop album of the year. It's incredibly catchy and since it is (vaguely/slightly) opera related we get to share it with you.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

Friday!

What are you listening to this weekend?

For the first time in forever the Aria Serious crew has nothing cued up. We're not sure why. Perhaps because we need to head to the mall this weekend for presents and know that afterwards all we're going to want to do is drink. (Sadly, there's only so much shopping one can do at Etsy).

Our friends at Orchestra Nova are presenting Handel's Messiah with our other friend Brian Asawa. We'll be at that. But beyond that, we just might set the internet browser to KCRW's Eclectic 24 and see what comes on.
But one thing that's music to our ears - a big batch of latkes frying in oil. Happy Hanukkah!

Share you plans in the comment section. And make it a good one!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sad News

We have some very sad news today with the announcement that our dear dear friend and former employee for 32 years, Lillian Para, passed away last week at the age of 84.

Lil retired in July and we missed her dearly then. We didn't think it possible, but we miss her even more now.

She's part of the family here, and her loss feels like losing someone incredibly close.

Goodbye dear friend, we miss you terribly.

This is Not An Opera

A new NEA report states that arts groups audiences are growing!

Online.

According to the report "over the past year an estimated 47 million [adults] chose to watch or listen to music, theater or dance performances online at least once a week."

But is it art? Or is it something different? Art 2.0? A facsimile of art? If so, is it good enough, close enough, for audiences these days?
(Margritte's La Trahison des images (Ceci n'est pas une pipe) comes to mind here.)

Call us Luddites but the Aria Serious crew just can't accept (yet) that art on the computer screen is the same experience as attending a live performance. Sure, we'll often watch a live concert online at KCRW or Youtube but it doesn't replace the act of seeing that same band in person when they come to town. It supplements our experience.

What worries us is when the online experience replaces the physical experience. Is opera still opera when viewed on a computer screen? Is the experience the same? Or is it time for that experience to change to reflect the audiences of today?

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Should Have Put A Ring On It"

Or perhaps not.


Word this morning that Los Angeles Opera has received a $14M emergency loan from Los Angeles County to keep the cash strapped Company afloat.

According to Stephen Roundtree, chief executive of both the opera company and its landlord, the Music Center, told the Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday meeting the loan "is needed now, literally next week."

The company is $20 million in debt, Rountree said.

You can read the full report in the Los Angeles Times, here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Podcast Monday

We know, we know. We're a day late. You see, the Aria Serious crew was knocked down with a nasty flu bug yesterday so we spent the day on the couch getting really good at Assassin's Creed II between mugs of hot tea and naps.

But we're back. This week's podcast? Dr. Nic bends the space/time continuum to share his favorite moments of the 2010 season. OK, fine, he really just shares his favorite arias from our 2010 operas but we like our version better.

You can download the podcast here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What Are You Listening To This Weekend?

What are you listening to this weekend?

After enjoying the band Girls in concert at UCSD's The Loft (one of our favorite venues for catching touring bands), and braving the crowds at December Nights in Balboa Park (shudder) we have Arabella by Strauss on tap. Why? Because we've never listened to it before. Good enough reason in our book.

For those of you who are local - remember - the North Park Holiday Parade is Saturday morning, the South Park Holiday Walkabout is in the evening.

Share your weekend listening plans in the comment section below. And make it a good one!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

OperaTalk ROMEO AND JULIET

Our newest program, OperaTalk! ROMEO AND JULIET, is now up and online for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cuts at Washington National Opera

The Washington Post is reporting a series of cuts at Washington National Opera, confirming the rumors we posted yesterday. You can read all about it here.

We really hate posting this type of news but do so to remind you how appreciative we are of your support. Thank you for your support.

And also, support your local opera Company this holiday season - many organizations offer gift certificates. I can think of no better gift than tickets to an opera. Well, maybe a nice bottle of whisky. But whisky goes nicely with opera as well...

We wish all our friends at WNO the very best.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Thankfully yes, better than ever.


Notably absent - the sound enhancement system which had been in use for roughly 10 years. Now audiences get to hear opera the way it is meant to be heard - pure and natural.

Or is it?
We had a serious debate on Thanksgiving at the Aria Serious tower about what the future of opera will bring. Do generations brought up with their ipod earbuds permanently buried in their ears have the skill or patience to listen to the subtle sound of unamplified music? Will opera need to make some concessions in order to attract a new audience? Is amplified opera the future of the artform? Is it still opera then?